JUDGES

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS&ED­U­CA­TION - Bar­bara.gayle@glean­erjm.com

what has been the level of in­crease in the mat­ters com­ing be­fore the court? The an­swer can­not be to blame the ju­di­ciary. Pratt and Mor­gan had come to de­fine the whole is­sue of un­due de­lay not only in the death penalty cases, but is rel­e­vant, in my view, in all mat­ters be­fore the court,” he stated.

TIME TO WRITE JUDG­MENTS

Jus­tice Camp­bell dis­closed that most of his time at home was spent writ­ing judg­ments. He noted, “I don’t know how my dear wife put up with this sit­u­a­tion.

“I can say with­out fear of re­proach that the judges are per­sons who work ex­tremely hard, and most of the judg­ments writ­ten are done in their own time be­cause no time is given out of court to write judg­ments,” he said. “The judges should be given one week out of each month to write judg­ments.”

He said that he had the op­por­tu­nity to pre­side in other ju­ris­dic­tions such as Grand Cay­man, and the courts’ lists of mat­ters were nowhere as packed as the list in Ja­maica, and yet those judges were al­lowed time out of court ex­pressly to write judg­ments.

“I have run my leg in this ju­di­cial re­lay. I have seen the leg run by oth­ers who handed me the ba­ton. They were all ded­i­cated and hard-work­ing per­sons. The per­sons to whom the ba­ton has been handed will, no doubt carry it around safely in the tra­di­tion of the Ja­maican ju­di­ciary. Some of those per­sons who have served now find them­selves in straight­ened cir­cum­stances,” he said. In this file photo, Jus­tice Len­nox Camp­bell (right) speaks with (from left) Res­i­dent Mag­is­trates Viviene Hall-Har­ris, San­dria Wong-Small, and Se­nior RM for the parish of St James Win­some Henry.

Ques­tioned fur­ther about the fi­nan­cial is­sues of some re­tired judges, he said, “There was a stan­dard be­low which a per­son who has served his coun­try, at such a level, should not be al­lowed to fall.”

Jus­tice Camp­bell is a mem­ber of the very first grad­u­ates from

the Nor­man Man­ley Law School in 1975, and shortly af­ter joined the govern­ment ser­vice as a clerk of the courts. He next joined the staff at the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions in 1983 and was ap­pointed as­sis­tant DPP in 1985. He was next ap­pointed a

res­i­dent mag­is­trate (now parish judge).

He then moved on to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Cham­bers, where he was ap­pointed head of the Lit­i­ga­tion Depart­ment. He said that it was quite un­usual for some­one at the level of the res­i­dent mag­is­trate to leave the

mag­is­tracy to join the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Cham­bers, and he was not aware of any­one else who had taken that par­tic­u­lar ca­reer course.

His ap­point­ment came about in pe­cu­liar cir­cum­stances. While he was at­tend­ing a sem­i­nar for res­i­dent mag­is­trates in St Ann, the Honourable Pa­trick Robin­son, now pres­i­dent of the World Court, who at the time was the deputy so­lic­i­tor gen­eral, in­vited him to join those Cham­bers.

“He gave me some time to think about it, but I was pre­pared to give my an­swer on the spot be­cause I held the AG’s Cham­bers in very high es­teem be­cause of the pres­ence of Dr Ken­neth Rat­tray, QC, the then so­lic­i­tor gen­eral who was a renowned in­ter­na­tional lawyer at the time and was given promi­nence in­ter­na­tion­ally for his work in the Law of the Sea. As well as prom­i­nent lawyers such as Pa­trick Robin­son, the late Peter Sobers, Dou­glas Leys, and Lack­ston Robin­son. Leys was to later dis­tin­guish him­self as so­lic­i­tor gen­eral in his own rights” he added.

AP­POINTED QUEEN’S COUN­SEL

Jus­tice Camp­bell was ap­pointed Queen’s Coun­sel and deputy so­lic­i­tor gen­eral in early 2000.

He re­counted that as di­rec­tor of lit­i­ga­tion, he was an ad­vo­cate ap­pear­ing be­fore the Supreme Court, the Court of Ap­peal, and the UK Privy Coun­cil.

“I re­ally sub­merged my­self in the work there. It was sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent from the ad­vo­cacy and crim­i­nal law I was prac­tis­ing since leav­ing law school,” he said.

He also ap­peared be­fore the In­dus­trial Dis­putes Tri­bunal and had bat­tles there with trade union­ists that he would not nor­mally have met in the courts. There were pe­ri­ods when the Govern­ment had dif­fi­culty meet­ing the de­mands of pub­lic ser­vants, and Jus­tice Camp­bell said “it was our duty as rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Govern­ment to present their case usu­ally cen­tered on an in­suf­fi­ciency of funds to meet the pub­lic-ser­vice de­mands. Con­se­quently, it was not in the na­tional in­ter­est to ac­cede to those de­mands.”

He de­scribed times when ag­grieved pub­lic ser­vants demon­strated their frus­tra­tions to him.

He re­called ap­pear­ing in a mat­ter brought by the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion in which the late trade union­ist Hugh Law­son Shearer and Pro­fes­sor Trevor Mon­roe, along with other trade union lead­ers, sought to rep­re­sent the Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, a move that was ob­jected to by the Govern­ment, but which the court con­firmed and ap­proved.

He said one of the most in­ter­est­ing is­sues he was in­volved in was the pri­vati­sa­tion of the en­ergy sec­tor as hith­erto, the

Ja­maica Pub­lic Ser­vice had en­joyed a mo­nop­oly on the trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion of elec­tric­ity. The work in­volved the ef­forts of a ne­go­ti­at­ing team, which was headed by Dr Vin Lawrence, who worked un­stint­ingly to pro­duce the nec­es­sary power-pur­chase agree­ments, guar­an­tees, and reg­u­la­tory frame­work nec­es­sary for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of pri­vatepower gen­er­a­tion for sale in the na­tional grids.

He was also in­volved in mat­ters such as the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund multi-lat­eral agree­ments as le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

An in­vi­ta­tion by then Chief Jus­tice Ed­ward Zacca to join the Supreme Court Bench was turned down and Jus­tice Camp­bell ex­plained, “I recog­nised the in­vi­ta­tion for el­e­va­tion to the Bench for the hon­our it was, but af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, the na­tional im­por­tance of some of the projects that were then un­der way and in which the AG’s Cham­bers was act­ing as the govern­ment’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, I con­sid­ered it my duty to de­cline the in­vi­ta­tion.”

He said he was in the Com­mer­cial Di­vi­sion at that time, and de­clin­ing the of­fer meant that per­sons ju­nior to him, in re­la­tion to the ju­di­cial side of his ca­reer, would move ahead of him. “Nev­er­the­less, I never re­gret­ted my de­ci­sion,” he said.

How­ever, he ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion to join the Bench five years later and was ap­pointed a Supreme Court judge in May 2000.

The ju­di­cial ex­pe­ri­ence, he said, was tremen­dous.

He dis­closed that at the start of his le­gal ed­u­ca­tion, he was asked by a schol­ar­ship re­view­ing panel what was it about the law that at­tracted him to it.

“My an­swer then was ‘the drama of the court­room’. Since then, I have al­ways been re­minded to be care­ful what I wish for lest it come true. I have seen more drama than any law school grad­u­ate could rea­son­ably have fore­seen,” he said.

Jus­tice Camp­bell de­scribes his ca­reer as ful­fill­ing and re­ward­ing and he con­sid­ers him­self very for­tu­nate to have had the Ja­maican peo­ple pay for his ed­u­ca­tion at Kingston Col­lege, and, for the most part, at the Univer­sity of the West Indies.

“I con­sider my­self in­debted to them, and my en­tire ca­reer has been based on re­pay­ment of that debt,” he added.

On Heroes Day, Jus­tice Len­nox Camp­bell was awarded the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion (Com­man­der Class) for his ser­vice in the ju­di­ciary and in the le­gal sys­tem. He said that he is hum­bled by the hon­our and recog­nise that with­out the sup­port of his fam­ily, friends, and the sup­port­ing staff that he has had all along, this would not have been pos­si­ble.

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